Blog Entry

There is no "official" time in the 40-yard dash

Posted on: February 28, 2010 9:41 am
It is easy to be confused by the wide range of times being reported for players' 40-yard dash times. LSU's Trindon Holliday, for example, had been reported by some as having been timed as low as 4.22 seconds and as high as 4.34 seconds. Obviously a pretty significant disparity.

It's important to understand what happens to get the 40 times at the combine:

. Those who participate in the 40 actually run twice, and on each run they are timed by two hand-held stopwatches and one electronic timer (that is actually initiated by hand on the player's first movement.

. Combine data put together for NFL teams by National Scouting includes all six of those times for each player, but no single official time.

Team scouts and coaches have various approaches for getting the 40 time they use from those six timings. Some use averages. Some throw out slowest and fastest and then average the rest. Some ignore the whole thing and use a time taken by their own scout.

However, beware any 40-yard time that is labeled as "official" from the combine. In deference to the players, uses the best verifiable -- or listed -- time from the combine unless it is conspicuously skewed from the other times, which happens when a hand timer has an itchy trigger finger on the stopwatch. However, the times are usually well grouped.

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